Novak Djokovic could not have started his 2021 better. The world number 1 won his ninth title at the Australian Open in February, a success that allowed him to put his 18th Grand Slam on the board (taking two only lengths away from eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal).
In early March, the Belgrade veteran also broke the all-time record of weeks at the top of the ATP rankings. During the triumphal ride to Melbourne Park, Nole sustained an abdominal injury that seriously threatened to block his assault on the trophy.
The Serbian champion, who almost miraculously managed to get back on his feet, is expected to return to the field in Miami next week. Djokovic has not particularly shone in Florida in recent editions, but this year will be facilitated by the countless forfeits that have fallen on the tournament.
In fact, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem will not be present, just to name a few. Meanwhile, Srdjan Djokovic, Novak's father, gave a lengthy interview to 'Sputnik News', in which he praised his son's commitment to second-tier players.
Novak Djokovic remains unfazed by criticism
While speaking to Sputnik News, the 60-year-old stated, “It doesn’t bother Novak Djokovic at all. That Serbian stubbornness is well-known, and it seems to me that the more he invents some things that have nothing to do with the truth and the brain, the better and better he plays.
He wants to show that tennis is not just a tennis game, but that tennis is life. That life is for those few thousand fantastic young players he is fighting for." Srdjan took a dig at his arch-rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
He went on to say that they do not support Novak in matters that are good for the underprivileged players. The senior Djokovic added, “It’s much harder because it doesn’t have the support of Federer and Nadal, which is really an amazing fact to me … as if they haven’t already taken enough money, so they need a few more millions, a few billion … I don’t know what it’s about, but yes they don’t support Novak for something that is generally good for those people who can barely make ends meet, it’s a really amazing enigma for me”.
There has been a lot of chatter around the ATP rankings. Initially, ATP froze the rankings in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But the rule was extended into 2021 as well, and this didn’t go well with some players. Incidentally, Roger Federer has been the biggest beneficiary of the ranking freeze.
His comeback at ATP Doha may not have met the soaring expectations of his fans, but Roger Federer would believe that he more than accomplished his objective in the tournament.